Blackbird an online journal of literature and the arts Spring 2008 Vol. 7 No. 1



The Room Is Cluttered, the Suitcase Night Thunder

                                   Seasons spilled like
           the remains of a storm, swiveling
                        slow on their bed of seaweed and rock,

enfolding eras, spilling socks and sleeves.
                                    Embroidered with
           arrivals, blue-black days,
                        enigmatic, a school of glass stingrays,

dread inscribed in between the slits
                                    of their fins, slow to
           catch the sky’s about-face. It’s a cold
                        atmosphere without an

outside, colder than a fisherman’s psalms
                                    or feet. 
           The fisherman is a glimpse caught
                        in an iridescent void

or in the belly of a ship writing the
                                    same astonishments,
           the wilted sheets of paper
                        a dream stunted by too few words. 

                                   Dear Lord, my life,
                        as I’ve told you before, cocooned
           inside a hope scattered

like an archipelago, is muddy with waiting,
                                    and hope that lies
                        in sunlight coating the wait. Open,
           no wind can slam it shut, 

the day an awkward breeze. You think this
                                    a kind of bliss?
                        And this hour, how thick? How to
           add it up? But please. Please

don’t come down to be my companion. Send
                                    someone. Send the
                        thread patching the quilt, the fingers
           that mend a net. And make sure—Ah the air,

how long can it possibly last?—
                                    she knows the story, suitcase and travels,
           compass shivering, slathered with sweat.
Make sure she tells it well.  

   Contributor’s notes  |  Khaled Mattawa
   Contributor’s notes  |  Iman Mersal
|  A translation of Iman Mersal
The Visit  |  A translation of Iman Mersal  

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